It’s been a year huh.
I have been here but not here (definitely not here), and there were reasons for that, though they are not particularly interesting.
Examples of non-interesting reasons: I went through some rough territory in my personal life and wrote about it but just couldn’t bring myself to share it.
There were other non-reasons too. I was busy with unexpected dome-fixing projects, and health projects and keeping a watchful eye on the state of the world which is just scary right now, isn’t it. A breath for that.
And breath of love for everyone reading since we’re all in it, and it’s intense.
But mainly I was in a different space. I was in the desert gazing at the sky.
I was watching, listening, waiting for intel. I was waiting for glimpses of the bobcat, trying to learn how to be a bobcat, to be fierce in my aliveness, fully embodied in that bobcat way.
All of those are the reasons and they are excellent reasons, and also they are all meaningless, because Reasons Are Bullshit, which is one of the biggest things I learned in 2019.
Actually this is something I encountered in 2009, a full decade ago, but it was elusive then, I only understood it conceptually and even then only in brief flashes, because the wisdom of this did not live inside me yet and now it does. I hope.
Though as Esther Gokhale says, forgetting is part of remembering, and remembering-and-forgetting only to remember again is how we learn, so if I forget, may I remember this as I remember to remember.
Reasons Are Bullshit means this:
I could very easily come up with a solid twenty item list to answer anything on the topic of “Hey Havi, why are you doing X?” or “How come you’re not doing Y?”
And, while all those reasons would be valid and also true, none of them can be the real reason, not individually and also not taken all together.
The real reason for doing an X or not doing a Y is that I felt it, I received the information, I heard my Yes or felt my No, I was given the gift of knowing.
Maybe that’s the Knowing of here is the next indicated step, maybe that’s the Knowing of this isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing right now.
But once I have that beautiful gem of intel, I know. And then the list of reasons is just a mostly externally-directed and somewhat internally-directed justification for what I already know.
That clear Knowing is the glowing vessel that carries a truth, everything else is trying to explain a truth to make it palatable to other people, and honestly I think we can mostly skip that part?
Other truths and bits of wisdom.
I could write for days about Reasons Are Bullshit, except this year held other wisdom too, so I want to share bits and pieces from what I received.
As always, take what feels spark-filled, meaningful, or reverberates in some way, and leave the rest, some of what is here might be someone else’s clue, or a clue for future-you, or maybe it’s just a documentation of a year in the life of a sorceress in the desert who is clawing her way through a brutal stomach flu at the moment.
All I need is the next indicated step.
I spent the first half of this year involved in big plans, and life laughed at them and sent them into a spiraling tornado funnel.
Having already gone through [the years of the burning barns and the broken pots], I knew not to make assumptions about what is “bad” for me, that’s a boring story, and I also hope that I’m a little speedier at being able to take a clue.
But what I learned this year is that I don’t need to figure out [everything], I don’t need a new plan, I don’t even need to know the plan, I need to listen for the next step.
What if nothing is moving me backwards, nothing is an obstacle (especially the things that seem like massive obstacles), nothing is side-tracking me, all of that is story.
What if the thing that got me here was [NECESSARY STEP] and what’s happening now is [NEXT STEP], and the point wasn’t to follow the entire path of First Step to its expected end, the point was being agile and adaptable.
My days are pretty simple now.
That doesn’t mean they’re easy, just simple. I do my morning rituals, I talk to Incoming Me, we listen for a Next Step for the day. When it shows up, we follow it.
If something else interrupts that as it often does, then that was my Next Step. We work on projects, we solve for X. We fix broken things or clear them out. We forget and remember. Then more stretching, evening rituals and healing sleep.
Incoming me cares a lot more about how I do things than about how much gets done. I am still getting used to that, but it is all very clear for her.
This was my superpower/wish for the year, and like all things we fervently wish for, it had many sides.
I got some Wild Clarity on things I didn’t necessarily want clarity on, haha.
But now I’m clear on that too. Clear on pretty much everything.
Not the whole path, but clear on the fact that I don’t need to be clear on that.
Wild also like the bobcat who prowls and stalks out by the stone wall, then naps contentedly on my porch.
Wild and clear.
Information is neutral.
Hellcat Maggie, one of my Incoming Selves, has a phrase that I didn’t really like at first.
Hellcat Maggie likes to say, about pretty much anything:
It is what it motherfucking is.
And at first I thought this was defeatist or depressing, like, c’mon Maggie why can’t we just focus here and work hard to make it other than what it is?????
But what I learned is this. For Hellcat Maggie, and for all future wise versions of me, information is neutral. It Is What It Motherfucking Is (IIWIMI) conveys a neutral statement, its intention is clarity and calm.
It doesn’t mean things can’t shift, move, be maneuvered. We’re flexible and playful. We can apply some creative sorcery to the situation. It just means that right now I am fighting with [what is] instead of just taking it as neutral information about my starting point.
This is what we’re dealing with right now. What are we gonna do with that?
Hugs are a form of nutrition.
Beginning in late spring and through the end of summer, a series of situations that meant I couldn’t host any retreats at the dome, and I was too exhausted to go dance, and my only friend here went on a road trip, and [circumstances].
It is what it motherfucking is, right?
But it turns out that hug-deficiency is real (this is also something I learned decades ago but had forgotten), and wow, it’s hard to have any clarity (wild or otherwise) when existing in a state of deficiency.
This year was really about relearning from the ground up what a Havi requires to thrive, but also what a Havi requires to function at a very basic level.
I am doing better at making sure I get all the necessary nutrients, in a good setting, well-watered, and so on. It turns out that I have to actually put ACQUIRE HUGS on my list in the same way that I need to remind myself to make sure there are snacks.
Maybe that’s a visit to the best chiropractor, maybe that’s dance, maybe it’s visiting a friend who lives with a giant pile of happy dogs. But it can’t be postponed.
Grief is also a thing that extremely is how it is.
Truly, so much cumulative experience of it, and yet I can somehow regularly forget the most essential thing about grief, which is that it can just send me to the floor sometimes.
It is a vast helplessness, and however painful it is to be with this void, it is even more painful to try to delay this.
It’s not fun, friends. It is also a pretty big part of the human experience. So that’s a thing.
Our culture doesn’t make room, allowances, time, anything, for being vessels of pain and sorrow, of rage and fury, but here we all are, traversing this world.
The feelings come when they come. The feelings come as they come. Messengers of that Wild Clarity.
Everything is a cauldron!
My desert sorceress self says this, and I thought she meant it as a metaphor but not really.
The magic you can make is related to the vessel and what goes in it.
My morning bobcat stretch practice is a cauldron, a living room is a cauldron, a bed is a cauldron, a schedule is a cauldron, a visit to the supermarket is a cauldron.
What do you infuse things with? What is the intention of this concoction? How do you clear the vessel and make it clear (to yourself? to others?) that a vessel is reserved for better ingredients…
Everything is a cauldron. She said this all year and I am just now beginning to understand how vital this is.
Tabula rasa is my solution to kryptonite.
I get easily overwhelmed, by my surroundings, by the news, by noise, by energy, by the to-do list, all of it.
Clearing space to look at nothing is how I get out of this.
Again, I knew this. I just didn’t know it the way I know it now.
Competence > Management
I took this from the book Rage Becomes Her, by Soraya Chemaly, which is about women’s anger and how very justifiable it is, especially right now when we are in it.
The title is wordplay, rage becomes you in the sense that it suits us to be enraged, our fury is worthy and powerful and right, your anger looks good on you, fellow avenging furies. But it also means that rage can subsume you, it becomes like a skin, you wear it, and it filters the world.
At the end of the book, she asks what we can do when we are living with so much rage. She suggests dropping the idea of “anger management” and instead thinking about competence.
As in, how do we get to know our anger, learn to navigate it and use it for good, not trying to keep it “manageable” but trying to be knowledgeable about this terrain of fury and what it means to be someone who has this anger.
I really liked this, and it has many possible applications but have been mainly thinking about how this plays out in my relationship with ptsd, autism, adhd, flicker vertigo, chronic pain, general witchiness.
Reasons are bullshit, of course.
For me, diagnoses are often not particularly interesting and also all these official names for things feel very incomplete to me.
(That’s a People Vary thing for sure, if diagnoses are helpful and reassuring for you, seek them and use them in good health.)
Let’s say though there are any number of unnameable, difficult-to-describe forms of special brain and hyper ability which make it hard for me to get things done at times, not to mention the more ongoing conundrum of what it means to be a sorceress who never asked for these powers but has to learn to work with them to survive.
The shift from “oh god how do I manage this” to “wow what would it feel like to have competency in this” is huge for me.
Ritual as a container.
My day begins with a song, a wish, bobcat hour, then a witchy caffeinated potion, then talking to the Sorceress, the Assassin and Hellcat Maggie. Then we work on the projects and secret ops, with dance breaks or anxiety meltdown breaks or some combination.
My day ends with slow stretching, candles, a hot beverage, reviewing the day, listening to a soundtrack of peaceful songs.
I think this might be the best thing to come from 2019, this predictability of my day.
Well, also Sundulations, which is the name I invented for my bobcat-inspired leaping, bounding, undulating, fiercely hissing sun salutations, done to the song Push It. I can write more about how I hiss like a cat if you want.
The year began with three of these Sundulations each morning and now I’m up to fifty. I mean, there are days and there are days. IIWIMI. And I follow what is indicated. But that’s the path.
19s & 19s!
I did things for nineteen minutes at a time this year, and that worked for me.
It helped me bridge the Monday Meeting and connect with my incomings every day, multiple times a day.
Nineteen minutes in the sun. Nineteen minutes dancing. Nineteen minutes doing something that I don’t want to do but will feel good when it’s done.
Do or don’t.
For a while I was in Tucson a lot for [reasons, which are bullshit], and I was taking yoga at a studio where the teachers have a kind of catch phrase. Do or don’t.
As in: Breathe into the stretch and see how it feels. If you like, you can extend your leg, do or don’t. Notice if that’s working for you. Do or don’t: lift up onto your hands and see if you want to make this a balance pose.
I absolutely LOVE do or don’t.
Actually I wrote a whole post about it and then didn’t post it, because [yup, reasons, which don’t matter].
Do Or Don’t is such a deliciously neutral superpower.
It isn’t that Doing is good and Not-doing is less good. It’s just a choice. A moment. A door. Do or don’t. Or maybe it’s not a choice because my body can’t do it, so I am just at Don’t, and IIWIMI, but it’s still neutral information.
How am I feeling? What’s my energy like? What do I want? Based on that, do or don’t.
The Last Retreats.
Reasons are bullshit, of course. They just are. So I am not going to compile a list of them to explain why there are only a few more retreats available at the magical dome in the desert.
You don’t need the list of reasons and I don’t need to make it, because none of them actually matter when there is really only the real reason:
I received the intel that it’s time for something new.
Do I know what that is? I have some good clues.
But also I know now that I don’t need to know.
That’s what I learned this year: I don’t need to know most things. It’s just about focus and intention. My work is to continue to cultivate a clear, loving, steady relationship with my incoming selves, and feel into our yeses.
I will say that I absolutely loved every retreat I did this year, each one was huge joy, everyone who came was a DELIGHT, and sharing retreat time-space-presence with you is one of the most great joys in my life. HEART-EYE EMOJI ALL DAY!
Anyway, if you feel called to nab one of the Last Retreats in the most gasp-worthy beautiful location ever, there are a couple left. Do or don’t.
If you’ve already signed up for a retreat but don’t have dates, don’t worry, I am emailing you a list of possible dates, we’ll get you sorted!
What am I VERY EXCITED to offer this year?
I had the biggest epiphany about what it means to be on the sorcery spectrum, and in what ways I can use my powers for good, and I am offering a VERY LIMITED but also VERY FUN way to work with me in 2020.
It’s called the Highly Classified Sorcery Care Package, and I am going to shout about this because THERE IS A SOLSTICE SALE happening on this right now. I don’t know if I will offer this again, and it definitely will not go on sale again.
Also the bonuses are very bonus-ey. If this is exciting for you, come do this with me, because I am extremely yes for doing this work.
What are we feeling for 2020? Tell me in the comments!
Other than all the Vision puns!
My words for the coming year are Formidable, Enticing, Sustainable and Agile. These are the cardinal directions on my compass rose, still listening for the intercardinals.
I am seeding wishes about living by the revealed wisdom from 2019, and not forgetting about boundaries, nourishment, clarity and rest.
And I am glowing powerful wishes for your wishes. May all the right intel be revealed. May your next steps be beautifully clear, and when they are not then I wish you good clues and good comfort.
Let’s call in some superpowers and throw them into the pot together for this beautiful new year, we’re gonna need them. Love to you, sweet friend, thank you for waiting for me to come back.
“But once I have that beautiful gem of intel, I know. And then the list of reasons is just a mostly externally-directed and somewhat internally-directed justification for what I already know.”
This really leapt out to me today. One thing I learned from leading my thing-I-led for eight years was just how much the “reason” we did x or y thing (although we would come up with very convincing-sounding reasons) was really “we feel like this is what is resonating and we are figuring out how to build our case.”
Sometimes it was funny because the reasons were in direct opposition to the reasons from last time around. “We want to do this for the consideration of this factor,” we would say confidently, and then the one guy bold enough to call us out on it would say “last time you said we should explicitly not care about that factor anymore and you had good-sounding reasons for it. What changed?”
Most of the time it was just us. We changed. And I’m also realizing it was lucky that for so long the core of leaders were on the same wavelength about those changes.
Really interested in exploring what it is like if I stop feeling the pressure to come up with/explain myriad reasons, even just for myself. What would that free up space for?
YES that is such an amazing question: if I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone, convince anyone, justify anything or even offer an explanation….?!?!?!?!
Yes, yes, YES! – Reasons ARE bullshit, thank you for putting this into words, beautiful Havi <3. I listened very hard to find my Quality for the Exit and Entrance point that is this current moon, and in the end it wasn't one Quality but two: Sovereignity and Alignment. Everything inside and outside me lines up just perfectly, and I am Queen of my Universe at all times. Big vats (cauldrons!) of these Superpowers for everyone so please dip in if you feel inclined! Wishing you all a very beautiful Exit and Entrance to the years xxxx
Oh I love these! Crown on! Aligned with Sovereignty! Vats and cauldrons! YES!!!!
one day lovely Shamanka woman, I will find enough magic beans to cross the ocean and come and give you a hug in person for bringing so much Wisdom, Insight and Delight into my world… but til then, please be hugged via the magic of the Internet, now and at any time you need Hug Replenishment xxx
Of all the words that landed so resonant, the fact that you do Bobcat Hour to Push It, brings it all home!
Finding words for 2020, so your words are especially full of reverberations right now.
Favorite one is IIWIMI, where my brain is INSISTING on putting a glottal stop between the consecutive vowels: I’iwimi (EE’ ee wee mee).
Oooh, love that!
“May your next steps be beautifully clear, and when they are not then I wish you good clues and good comfort.”
Mmm-*hmm+. Clarity, clues, and comfort. That’s the best benediction I’ve been given in a good long while. Thank you!
This year, I have learned to have so much compassion for the Me Who Fears. She gets terribly cranxious — I just made up that word this very moment, and of course it is cranky + anxious — and I have spent some time in the shadows, holding her hand. Her hidden vein of gold is empathy and sensitivity, and I have been growing an incoming self named Shadow, she of the blue hair and the arched eyebrow and the gently wry smile, and not only is she not afraid of Cranxious Me, she is not afraid of *being afraid*. Fretting is a thing, it happens, hello pattern, let’s play with it and see how it transforms. <3
My guiding word/superpower/quality for 2020 is Voice. I can always tell when the right word has landed when it seems to have richness and layers of meaning. Among other things, Voice is Bells and Voice is Spells.
Solstice is tomorrow night. I am ready to turn towards the light.
Voice is so so so good! Reverberation! Head-heart connection! Standing up for ourselves! Giving voice to unnamed things!
Lots of love to Cranxious you and her hidden vein of gold, and your amazing incoming! I FEEL THIS!!! Yes, solstice, ready for it. <3
*the cauldron, the vessel*
(yes, and calls to mind achingly amazing “The Barrel” by Aldous Harding)
*anger competency, aka anger fluency*
(part of self fluency, yes)
*trauma, chronic pain, general witchiness*
(+ those things which aren’t/can’t be easily described)
<3 <3 <3 yes to all this, especially that anger fluency is key to self fluency, that is such a truth, and not just when it works, even if/when it doesn’t feel like fluency and feels more like It’s Complicated, that’s still a conscious relationship in process, love that reminder! <3 <3 <3
Immediately purchased and started reading Rage Becomes Her. !!!!
“clear Knowing is the glowing vessel that carries a truth.”
Are you saying Every.Single.Thing is a Cauldron WHOAAAA!
My Word for 2020 is Acknowledgement. 2019 was Disentanglement. Those 2 seem connected. My Word for January is Intuition, also connected.
I asked for and received a Tarot deck for Winter Solstice and did myself up a “Year Ahead Spread” (it is what it sounds like). The Year Theme card I pulled was The Moon and I was like “oh right of course that makes sense” but I can’t put why or how into words so there’s that too.
Thank you Havi for ongoingly sharing your Wisdom and Magic with the world.
Oh I love all of this so much. THE MOON + INTUITION + ACKNOWLEDGMENT: I feel it!!!!
I do miss the yearly boards. Even when I was not on them, I was there. Have been self-rallying over Thanksgiving the past two years, and those were so, so great.
In 2020, I will be the indicator species walking my own forest floor. Foundational health. I Ching advised Hexagram 50, The Cauldron, as a way to best support my 2020 proxy for foundational health. Somehow I see myself wearing heels, to aerate the soil. Not sure about that yet.
I was over the edge. Right over. Ready to let go, things are so fucking bad. But I read two things: REASONS ARE BULLSHIT, and: IT IS WHAT IT MOTHERFUCKING IS.
and I found that maybe, with these two things, I can keep going. They are powerful, they deflate the mountain of shit at the door.
**THANK YOU** wonderful Havi being!
For being, for sharing, for helping.
You got this! The mountain of shit is such a thing, and so exhausting, and also sometimes (?) an illusion, new metaphors incoming! Things are gonna get better, I can feel it. <3 <3 <3
I just wanted to say thank you for this space and sharing your thoughts and experiences.
And I love the concept of clue walks. I used to regularly find fortunes (the little slips of paper from cookies) in the most unusual places.
Love clue walks! That sounds amazing!
Although I’m reading this six months late (and January 2020 now feels like years ago!), this made me cry with resonance. Thankyou for speaking your truth, Nichola.
I break, then I rage at all the fake systems that serve the [Not My People tribe] and I remind my Elf that I am Just Right, just as is–replete with insecurity, feeling Everything “too” intensely, sliding into Overwhelm Paralysis at the tiniest thing, self-absorption, shame… AND with Magic Healing gifts, Kindness, Integrity, Sensuality, and Investment in others.
I will try to allow Knowing to keep tweaking my path, without getting Lost in Reasons… thankyou x